Sports mouthguards: Why custom mouthguards are best
Mouthguards are an important tool for professional athletes, and for athletes of all levels. Whether participating in youth, high school, college, or professional-level sports, athletes face unique circumstances that increase their risk for orofacial trauma. Mouthguards are an excellent tool to protect athletes of all ages from sports-related trauma.
Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury from sports. The most well-known sports that utilize mouthguards are hockey and football. Mouthguards should also be used in sports such as lacrosse, softball, baseball, and basketball due to the high incidence of orofacial injuries.
According to the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the ideal mouthguard is properly fitted to protect the teeth, soft tissue, and hard tissue. An athlete’s lips, cheek, tongue, teeth, temporomandibular joint, and mandible are better protected with a well-fitting mouthguard. Although mouthguards do not guarantee the absence of injuries, they absorb much of the impact and minimize the effect of an injury.
There are 3 main types of mouthguards: stock, mouth-formed (boil and bite), or custom:
- Stock mouthguards are the least effective because the athletes must continuously clench their teeth to hold them in place. This can impede speech and breathing and is generally less comfortable.
- Mouth-formed guards are cost-effective, can be made at home, and are more adapted than a stock mouthguard. Though better than a stock mouthguard, they can still affect speech and breathing.
- Custom mouthguards are more expensive but provide more protection. Custom mouthguards are also the most retentive, resilient, and comfortable. Since they are custom, it is easier for the athlete to speak and breathe than with other mouthguards.
Even Milwaukee Admirals mascot Roscoe needs to protect his smile! As the Official Team Dentist for the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, Dr. Draver and the entire Draver Dental team work hard to keep the hockey players’ smiles healthy.
In addition to protective equipment, athletes still require regular cleanings and checkups to maintain their oral health.
Since many athletes consume sports drinks and energy bars, athletes tend to have a higher rate of cavities than the typical population. Although sports drinks can be important to rehydrate, they are harsh on your teeth. Energy drinks have high levels of sugar and acid, while energy bars are very sticky and sugary. Both acidity and sugar can lead to cavities.
Especially if you eat a sticky sports bar or sugary sports drink, rinsing off your teeth before putting your mouthguard back in is very important.
Whether playing professional or recreational sports, mouthguards are an important aspect of maintaining your oral health. A mouthguard can help your smile stay healthy so that you can focus on your sport — and not your teeth!
At Draver Dental, our team will ensure a properly made, well-fitting mouthguard that any athlete will want to wear.
Left to right: Milwaukee Admirals mascot Roscoe, dentist Dr. Hannah Draver, and correspondent Holley Sinn.